Diversity—A Mind Set, Not a Talking Point

Vol. 42 No. 6

By

Michael Perez, George Washington University Law School, Division Delegate

Our legal system is tasked with the responsibilities of promoting fundamental fairness and equitably administering justice. In order to effectively pursue and fulfill these obligations, the legal profession must necessarily, and adequately, reflect the diversity of the population it serves. This encompasses diversity in race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, disability, age, and any other characteristics that illustrate human difference.

The Law Student Division recognizes diversity’s importance. To that end, the Division supports initiatives that ensure equal opportunities for all students, foster inclusive environments, and that fight to remove barriers to success. Diversity Day is one such initiative. Every March, the Division sponsors educational programs that promote respect for others and help students succeed through their legal education. Many institutions have expanded Diversity Day to Diversity Week, a clear example of diversity’s importance. The Division encourages every student to participate, whether your school has a Diversity Day or Week. If your school has neither, contact your school’s ABA representative and set one up! The Division created a Diversity Day Toolkit so students can learn how to create and publicize diversity-centered events.

Another way to enhance diversity is by taking a leadership role within the Division. Regardless of your position, as a leader, you have the opportunity to further the Division’s progress. Your efforts will help to enhance opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds. You will also bring your experience and viewpoint to the conversation. In essence, you have the ability to make diversity a reality, not a talking point.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “The dynamism of any diverse community depends not only on the diversity itself, but on promoting a sense of belonging among those who formerly would have been considered and felt themselves outsiders.” These powerful words reflect the attitude of those who view diversity as a mind set that guides their daily interactions. The Division encourages you to celebrate and enhance diversity, not by tacit agreement, but through active participation. As current law students, and future attorneys, let’s continue fostering diversity in the profession, and cement its rightful position as the foundation of our society.

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